Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claims that he has “no idea” when Paul Pogba will be available after injury but he expects his squad to cope with the French midfielder’s absence.
nited hope to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League at Southampton today but will be without their record signing, who is recovering from a hamstring injury suffered against Basel in the Champions League earlier this month.
When asked in yesterday whether a time-frame was decided for Pogba’s return, Mourinho replied: “I have no idea. But, again, it’s a great opportunity for other players to play and I trust them all. So I’m not going to cry or be counting the days until Pogba comes back, not at all. When he comes back, welcome, but until then, I trust my people.”
Mourinho could hand a first league start to Michael Carrick or bring in Spaniard Ander Herrera in the line-up should he choose to play a three-man midfield at St Mary’s.
The clash against Mauricio Pellegrino’s side kicks off a run of six games out of seven on the road for United, but Mourinho is calm about their testing schedule. “It is difficult, but it means it’s going to be easier later,” he said.
The Portuguese maestro has admitted a rejuvenated Anthony Martial is winning his trust again after emerging from last season’s slumber but the United boss left Luke Shaw in little doubt that the defender has considerable work to do to force his way back into his first-team plans.
Mourinho’s warning at the end of last season that the “fragile” players in his squad must toughen up if they want to retain his faith appeared to be a thinly veiled ultimatum to the likes of Martial and Shaw.
Martial endured an acrimonious break-up from his former partner Samantha Jacquelinet last year, which is thought to have contributed to his drop in form after a blistering debut season at Old Trafford, but he is now in a happy relationship and people around the club have noticed a spring in his step. “I see a great improvement in the person, in the mood, in the face, in the body language – if you want just a word, in his happiness,” Mourinho said. “I am very pleased with his attitude overall and then it’s easier to play well. He’s improving a lot.”
However, Shaw has much to do to come back into contention. “He has to work,” Mourinho said. “He has to improve.” (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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